Delegated voice: ritual speech, risk, and the making of marriage alliances in Anakalang

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Abstract

Many societies stress communicative practice in their models of the social world. In Anakalang, Sumba, the process of marriage negotiation helps constitute and display the value of social identities and relations. In this “scene of negotiation,” ritual speech performance formalizes discrete speech participant roles and separates voice from agency. The scene implicitly portrays interaction as risky, with a potential for failure to which the very forms of interaction may themselves contribute.

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